Today, I’m joined by Wahida Clark, a New York Times Best Seller who has authored over a dozen books. She has created a successful fiction series and a raving fan base who read her books.
While living in Georgia, Wahida worked for an advertising firm. She was sent to the federal prison in Kentucky. While there, she taught computer classes in the evening and worked at the library in the morning. She picked up a magazine one day that talked about an author who wrote a book in prison. “I started looking at all the books in the library, and I started visualizing my name on all the spines of the books.” That is when she decided to write a book.
Wahida noticed a class on creative writing at the prison, and she decided to sign up. “We were in prison, so there were no computers. I had to hand-write my book on yellow legal paper. I had the inmates reading the chapters as I write them.” She sent out inquiry letters to publishers and agents, which ended up being rejected. One agent, however, reconnected with her when she was released from prison. She agreed to represent Wahida and is still her literary agent to this day.
She asked prison workers to make copies, so she had a transcript to send to a publisher. They agreed, as long as she put them in the acknowledgment in her book. Wahida started publishing in prison and sold over a million books before she left prison.
Listen in to find out how Wahida spread the word about her book throughout the prison system, sold books and became a popular author while in solitary confinement for writing a book, and how she inspired others in prison to become authors. Learn the two elements that keep her readers reading and engaged.
- [01:52] Why Wahida decided to write her first book.
- [05:47] The writing process in prison.
- [07:55] Wahida reads books by Carl Weber.
- [09:06] Her first royalty check of $25,000 bounced.
- [10:09] The lieutenant’s office at the prison wanted to know how she wrote a book.
- [12:30] She made flyers to send to other prisoners and her book started to take wing and fly.
- [14:04] Simon & Schuester signed Wahida after her release from prison.
- [16:20] Why she sold so many books while in prison.
- [17:59] Genres she considered when writing her book.
- [19:15] How she came to write a series of books.
- [23:04] Keeping her readers engaged and leaving reviews.
- [26:32] Why Wahida is moving out of her genre.
- [30:23] Top takeaways from Self Publishing School.
- [32:05] Advice for authors to write their first book.
- [3:11] What she would have done differently with her book and her channel.
Links and Resources
- Visit Self Publishing School Online
- SPS Free Training Course
- Wahida Clark Publishing
- Wahida on Fantastic Fiction
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